WHEN in New York, I gave an address to the students of the General Theological Seminary. There also, as Superior General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, attended a special meeting of the Council, and, at its request, subsequently issued an address to the members, urging the Clergy to make special efforts for the increase of its numbers. Here it may be said that as no religious cause ever succeeds without special devotion, it is, I believe, by kindling greater devotion to our Lord present with us in that Sacrament of His love that our churches will be filled with worshipers. Christ lifted up on our Altars will be the magnet to draw men to His worship. Where the Body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
It also does seem appropriate that as we have a day set apart to give thanks to Almighty God for the fruits of the earth, we should keep one festival for giving thanks to Him for the greater gift of the Bread from heaven. The day appointed for Thanksgiving for the harvest is the last Thursday in November. The day I suggest to be kept in our Diocese as the day for Thanksgiving for the Bread from heaven is the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday. The former feast, Thanksgiving Day, comes in the autumn, when Mother Earth has performed her yearly duty and her life powers begin to fail. The latter comes in the spring, when the reviving power of earth's embosomed life fittingly tells of the Resurrection Life, the Bread from heaven gives. The day as associated with the gift of Christ's Body and Blood, which whoso eateth, Christ says, He will raise him up at the last day, is usually called Corpus Christi. If we have adopted our Thanksgiving Day feast from the Puritans, it is no objection to Corpus Christi, if it has come to us from the Western or Roman Communion. The keeping of it is in loyal accord with our own Reformed Liturgy. For in the post Reformation English Calendars, which, up to about the year 1830, were yearly put forth with the sanction of the Archbishops of Canterbury, the feast was yearly recorded. I trust the observance of it will become general in our Diocese.
During the year I have put forth a Tract on the "Holy Eucharist in the New Testament," which has had a circulation of about ten thousand copies and which I would commend to the Clergy and Laity, as giving in a simple and clear way an analysis of our Lord's own teaching on this most vital subject. We want not only to believe in the Real Objective Presence of Him in the Eucharist, but so intelligently to understand the great argument by which it is established as to be effective and intelligent missionaries in making His Truth known to others. It ought not to be said of us Churchmen that we do not read. Is there any other subject which should so interest us, any other question which should be more intelligently understood? This Tract should be studied and mastered by our communicants, and along with it I would commend the book "Pusey and the Church Revival."
It is written in an eirenic spirit and with loving consideration of the views of others. It gives the rise and principles of the Catholic movement and a sketch of the inner life of this great Anglican Saint. Some day his beatification will be proclaimed, if not by formal process, by the primitive method of general recognition. While there are hundreds and thousands of good holy Priests, in the Church, the Saints who are special creatures of grace are few, and among them we believe was Dr. Pusey. His was not the ordinary type of Christian character. He lived on a different plane than that of other men and attained a special sanctity. Not all men are called to be John Baptists or St. Pauls--not all to be Chrysostoms or Basils, not all, Benedicts or Bernards, not all like an Andrewes, or Ken, or a Pusey. The church had his labors and prayers while he was here on earth, and now that he is with Christ, we believe we still have them. The living and the dead but one communion make, and as we pray for those who are departed in Christ's faith and fear, so we may ask God to give us a portion in the prayers of those who are reigning with Him in Glory. May they pray for us. May our Diocese be blest through their intercession. In the strength of their prayers and of the sacramental Presence of her Lord, the Church moves confidently forward to her completed victory in the final gathering of her children in Christ into God.
Let me now, dear brethren, speak to you of our Missionary duty to ourselves and to the Church.
Our Blessed Lord by right of conquest over Satan and Death and Hell, as King and conqueror of the world, gave to the Apostolic College as His Representative, authority to go into all lands and make men subjects of His Kingdom by baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
This mission and jurisdiction is shared in by each Bishop, as a successor of the Apostles and as a member of the Episcopal Solidarity.
Primarily the right and duty of extending the Gospel rests with each Bishop and the Diocese under his care.
This divinely given commission marks out our primary duty and should be an inspiration in the fulfilment of it.
It comes to us not as percolating through many ages of transmission, it may be by soiled hands and barren hearts, but as a fresh utterance from the Living Lord who stands in our midst and clothes each Apostolic representative of Himself with His own word of power. Upon us and upon you, Clergy and Laity, as under our jurisdiction, rests the duty to go forth in His Name into this Diocese and labor for the upbuilding of His Kingdom.
While this responsibility rests primarily on each Diocese, yet, as associated with others, we owe a duty of material aid to other Dioceses which are grouped together and organically associated with us. In the Church it is the law of Christian charity that the strong should support the weak, and that those richer in this world's goods should send succor to their needy brethren at Antioch and to the poor Saints at Jerusalem.
For this purpose of collection and distribution, it is obviously useful that an agency should be created, and this agency amongst ourselves is known as the Board of Domestic and Foreign Missions. It has no divine commission or authority as a Diocese has, but is an agency created by the Church to collect and distribute its alms.
Its duty is to give to the richer Dioceses the privilege of supporting and aiding the weaker ones; to extend the Kingdom by the creation of new Dioceses in our country; to provide for the spiritual wants of the Indians and Negroes, for whom we are bound to care by special considerations; to go abroad into heathen lands, careful, however, to observe St. Paul's rule of extension, which was not to build upon another man's foundation.
We not only wish to do our share, and more if need be, and you all agree with us that no sacrifice however great shall stand in the way of our doing our duty to the General Church. Fond du Lac is a Missionary Diocese. It is missionary in body, soul, and spirit, and it is missionary to the core. Wisconsin is for missions sacred ground. It is here for years devoted pioneers toiled on in struggle with grim poverty and made footpaths through her forests. Here they camped out amongst her pines and lived ofttimes without proper food. Here they preached in huts or from their wagon pulpits and fed the hungry souls and comforted the dying. I am speaking to those in whom the spirit of Kemper, Breck and Adams, of Cadle, Goodnough and Bur-leson, of Blow, and others is still alive. Some of you are leading hard and solitary lives, toiling in hidden-ness that others may gather the fruit of your labors, ready to die in the ditch so it be that the soldiers who succeed you may mount over your bodies and scale the wall to victory. Pardon me, if, feeling stirred by the remembrance of our past and of what I know of you, my brothers, I confidently affirm you are not lacking in missionary zeal. Many of you are giving your lives, which is more than any rich man's wealth.
Let me conclude this portion of my address as I began. Ours is a missionary Diocese and loyal to the core. No matter how we may be dealt with, we must only answer it by doing our duty. Let us make an apportionment on the Diocese for Mission purposes generally, and give the Board a generous share.
If an effort is being made, as some have said, to crush out our Diocese, let us do our duty and trust God to raise up friends who will come to our support.
The work in the Diocese needs all the aid you can possibly give it.
Take to heart your Bishop's motto--"Press on the Kingdom."
Grace and Peace, Reverend and dear Brethren, again I bid you.
Each year my love for you all in Christ deepens and the tie which binds us together becomes a stronger one.
The Diocese is rapidly developing; new churches are being built; wide opportunities for service are opening before us. We have much to encourage us when we look back to the past, and the future is bright with promise.
Surely we must feel that the Hand of God has been over us in blessing and has led us on.
Here every nationality has come to find a home, and the problem of Church extension is one of exceptional interest. Believing in the Church's divine origin and her Lord's indwelling Presence, we know she comes bringing divine gifts needed by all men.
Though feeble in wealth and numbers in comparison with surrounding sects, she is rich in her Sacramental treasures and the power of the Holy Ghost.
Jesus Christ inhabits her. He speaks and acts through her, and the Holy Ghost is in her, her abiding Life.
She knows no other Founder, owns no other Head save Jesus Christ, and her birthday was on Pentecost when the Spirit came. Christ continues through her the work He "began to do" and goes about throughout the world pardoning, healing, blessing, transforming sin-sick souls and doing good.
The Church is Christ visible on earth. She is that spiritual Kingdom into which we have been gathered from out the natural one, and, being adopted by Christ, in Him are made sons of God.
She is that Ark of safety that preserves us from destruction, and rising up from earth finds final labor and resting place in the Mountain of God. She is that new divine family of which Jesus Christ, the second Adam, is the Head and of which as members we are united to Christ and Christ to us. We live in Christ and Christ in us. She is the House,--"whose house we are," built upon the Rock which is Christ, immovable, indestructible, against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail and wherein the faith unchanging and unchangeable is proclaimed from age to age.
She is that heavenly City coming down from heaven, beautiful in form of priestly organization, and raiment of liturgy and Eucharistic worship, with glory and song and jewels, decked as a bride adorned for her husband. She is that living Temple enduring as eternity, communicating to every member its Light and Life with ever increasing radiance until it heightens and broadens into the glorious Beatific vision of God.
"Man," as you remember one of the Fathers said, "was made for God," and we must labor, with increasing zeal and faith, to create a felt need in men's hearts for Him, and a love for that Church in which Jesus is enshrined.